Building the Future

Innovation and engineering, the simple building blocks to Robotics. Teams compete with strict rules within time and resource limits to raise money to build, design and program robots. There were 45 teams, consisting of 25 students each, registered in the ‘Tenth Annual Pittsburgh Regional FIRST Robotics Competition’ which took place March 8-10. This three-day competition was a follow up for the six week ‘intensive build’ for the contestants to frame their robots. Anchorage team, Nerds of the North, consisting of three high schools including Dimond, West, and Service High School, went to this regional competition, placed ninth out of 45 and are moving on to Nationals in late April when they travel to St. Louis, Mo. in the FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition.) They have worked hard to create a few prototypes and the final product, which was tested many times for efficiency. The robot consisted of a drive train that was used to move the robot via remote, a shooter that vaulted objects across a room and a collector to catch the flying objects. Wade Roach, Engineering Teacher at Dimond high School, is the main coach for the Nerds of The North and has been for quite some time. Roach explains that being on the robotics team is “equivalent to being on a varsity sport,” but when asked how hard the overall team works he responds with, “not hard enough.” Explaining the truth behind robotics and the team is Taylor Sebring, a sophomore of Dimond High. “The last week before Regionals, we worked hard to finish our robot, even on Saturday and Sunday. We worked even longer than school hours,” said Taylor. The weekend of Parent Teacher Conferences left an extra day to work, the Friday at the end of the quarter adding their last few days. They sent their precious Robot to the competition ahead of them at the end of their three day building binge. With only the original six weeks to work on their robot, it was shipped directly from Portland to St. Louis after Regionals. On April 25th the team departs once again to meet their robot for the national battle and will return hopefully with the Crown Title as Champion, 1st place, on the 29th.